Nuggets (2-4), Pelicans (1-5)
LAS VEGAS – With both teams resting multiple key players in their Vegas finale, New Orleans gave first-time starts Friday to lesser-known names, such as Iowa undrafted rookie Peter Jok and Northwestern undrafted rookie Sanjay Lumpkin, the son of a former Saints safety. As Cheick Diallo, Quinn Cook and Axel Toupane watched from the sideline, their unproven Pelicans teammates played Denver tightly, but ultimately dropped another close game. New Orleans lost games in Nevada by margins of 2, 2, 5 and 5.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Jok missed a left-corner three-pointer as time ticked down and New Orleans trailed by five. Denver collected the defensive rebound, then dribbled out the final seconds to ice its victory. Nuggets forward Howard Sant-Roos made it a two-possession game by sinking two free throws with 10 seconds left.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jok had only logged a total of 20 minutes during New Orleans’ previous five summer games, but after receiving the nod to start at shooting guard Friday, he responded quickly. The 6-foot-6, 200-pounder erupted for 14 first-half points, highlighted by three makes from three-point range, helping to keep New Orleans in it, down just 46-44 at the break. Jok finished with a team-high 22 points, going 5/10 from the three-point arc. As a junior and senior in college, he shot 40 and 38 percent on treys, respectively.
Jalen Jones posted a double-double consisting of 21 points and 12 boards, while James Young came off the bench to deposit 16 points, including three trifectas.
QUOTES TO NOTE
“We felt our roster guys had done a lot this week. They accomplished what they needed to accomplish, and did a lot of great things for us. Respecting every guy on this roster, it was a great opportunity for those guys to get out there and be versatile and play a couple different positions.” – Pelicans summer head coach Jamelle McMillan on sitting Diallo, Cook and Toupane on Friday, which meant New Orleans had plenty of minutes for the eight players who did suit up vs. Denver
“The coach gave me an opportunity and said you’re going to play a lot, just play your game. Play like you played at Iowa. It’s all about getting an opportunity, and I took advantage of it.” – Jok on seizing the moment during his 34 minutes of court time Friday
“You do want to win, but this (league) is about growing and the process, helping guys understand what it’s like to be at this level. Cheick grew up a lot these last two weeks, having a more vocal role on the team. The game is slowing down for him as he gets more game reps. He’s able to play and understand where his moments will come. His IQ is improving, along with his skill set.” – McMillan on Diallo’s performance in summer league
“Quinn did very well for us. I think he solidified our mindset and our ideas on what he can bring to our ballclub, how he can be effective. For him it was more about running a team and managing a game, especially in the second half. We had our moments where we struggled early (in the week), but I think he got better over the course of the week.” – McMillan on Cook’s summer league